A young Christchurch priest has written a “practical, social, pastoral, spiritual and theological novel” that is generating some good feedback.

Divine Love – Life Love – Human Love: My Mother Is My Aunt-in-Law by Fr Thanh Tran was launched on December 8 last year at St Gregory’s parish centre at Bishopdale. About 70 people attended the launch.

Fr Tran, who originally hailed from Vietnam, started writing the 158-page book at the end of his pastoral year in Christchurch in 2014.

Returning to seminary studies meant the writing had to take a back seat for a while, but Fr Tran resumed his literary efforts in mid-2016 when he arrived in St Joseph’s parish in Papanui. He finished the book in June last year.

According to one website from which the book can be bought, the novel is “the story of a girl who was brought up by her foster mother. She did not know that her foster mother was not her natural mother until the mother had passed away, because she had always loved and cared for her wholeheartedly, tenderly, and sincerely. From a girl who did not have much faith in God, the daughter had changed unbelievably to have strong faith in the Creator and to be willing and desiring to serve people around her. She decided to give her life to God by entering a convent to become a nun, and she also remained serving people tirelessly in her vocation as a doctor. The conversion of her life happened through the way she felt and understood the wonderful love of her foster- and natural- mothers for her and the unconditional love of God for her and for humanity”.

Fr Tran said he “decided to write this book because I wanted to encourage people, especially younger people, to think more about the meaning of life and the meaning of our existence”.

“I wanted to encourage people to learn to feel more about the love of God and the love of others for them. I also wanted younger people not to take things for granted but to learn to appreciate and treasure the sacrifices and the hardships their parents are going through in life, in order to feed them and bring them up. Furthermore, I wanted people to learn to be grateful to God, the author of all life and the Father of the universe.”

Feedback from people who have read the book has been very positive, Fr Tran said. “Some of them said to me that the book had given them the sense of acceptance and peace which they had not had in their lives before. Some other younger people said to me that the book had helped them to learn to love their parents better,” he said.